Cambridgeshire

Peterborough MP praises Onasanya during maiden Commons speech

Jeremy Corbyn and Lisa Forbes Image copyright PA
Image caption Lisa Forbes delivered her maiden speech to the Commons on a hectic day in the Brexit process

Britain's newest MP used her maiden speech in the House of Commons to praise her predecessor who was forced out after lying about a speeding offence.

Lisa Forbes held the Peterborough seat for Labour in June's by-election, which was called after Fiona Onasanya stood down as MP.

Ms Forbes paid tribute to her saying she "made a difference to many lives".

Her speech was made during a Brexit-related debate on Monday evening.

She described serving the people of Peterborough as a "great passion".

Onasanya was forced to stand down after she was jailed for lying to police about who was driving her car, which was caught speeding.

In the subsequent by-election on 6 June, Ms Forbes narrowly saw off a challenge by the Brexit Party by taking 31% of the vote - a margin of 683.

Her success was quickly followed by allegations of election malpractice, which proved unfounded after a police inquiry.

Image copyright BBC Parliament
Image caption Lisa Forbes delivers her maiden speech to the House of Commons watched on by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Ms Forbes was given a window to deliver the six-minute speech during a series of Northern Ireland executive motions on the implications of Brexit at 22:15 BST.

"I want to place on record that Fiona Onasanya made a great difference to the lives of many of my constituents through her hard work," she said.

"Just as my predecessor was a black woman when there are few here, I know my working class background is all too unusual too."

She described how the Peterborough seat had held six Conservative MPs since 1918, "between them five peerages and three knighthoods, three barons, two baronets, a marquis and a viscount".

"Like our football team they could simply be known as the Posh," she said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Fiona Onasanya was the first MP to be ousted under the 2015 Recall Act and she has served a prison sentence

The speech came during a hectic day in the Commons, during which Prime Minister Boris Johnson's second attempt to call a general election was defeated, and Speaker John Bercow announced his resignation.

Before returning to the debates, the Conservatives' former Northern Ireland Secretary, Owen Paterson, said Ms Forbes "skilfully held the attention of the House".

"It is never an easy thing to give a maiden speech particularly with an atmosphere like this evening," he said.

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